News has just been received that a group of Catholics in eastern Ukraine has become the target of a land dispute. Bishop Stanislav Padewski told Aid to the Church in Need that some elderly women were beaten and then dragged outside while were trying to pray in a church in Dnipopetrovsk.
The apparent cause of the abuse is an ownership dispute between a private company which claims to own the building and the parishioners. During the communist era the church was seized and then in 1998, it was sold to a private company.
Since then, the church has changed ownership several times and the current company that claims to own the property has resorted to violent means to expel the faithful who still insist that the church be returned to them.
The police were informed of the situation, but have failed to take any action.
The bishop said that the State has adopted the principle and tactics of "might is right", which has "nothing to do with civilized and democratic methods." He also mentioned that these "crude measures" were accompanied by threats from those in power, who were portraying the Catholic faithful as "criminals".
This type of situation is reportedly quite common in the former communist states, where the exchange of property is usually quite profitable for the authorities who tacitly approve of it and for the supposed owners.